The Mavericks

Trampoline

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As their career progresses, the Mavericks are becoming more of a showcase for vocalist/frontman Raul Malo, both for better and for worse. They may be losing their band identity, but that may have been inevitable, considering that Malo is such a gifted, powerful musician. He is the driving force behind all of the group's stylistic fusions, their blend of honky tonk with country-rock, classic rock & roll, pop, and Latin. On Music for All Occasions, the stylistic blends sounded a little gimmicky, but the band sounds revitalized on Trampoline -- even the vaudevillian "Dolores" rings as true as the shuffling, cha-cha "I Should Know." If anything, the album is the least "country" album the Mavericks have ever done, but that's primarily because all of their influences have blended seamlessly together, creating an original, altogether intoxicating sound. Furthermore, they're not simply surface -- Malo's songs are clever constructions, ranking among the most imaginative roots songwriting of the '90s. His writing, combined with his band's musical panache, makes Trampoline a ride worth taking.

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